There comes a moment in Spring Training when a non-roster invitee creates enough waves for people to start speculating that he force his way onto the Opening Day active roster. These moments come in different forms: a breakout game, a game-defining play, or a clubhouse presence that makes them indispensable to the team (i.e. Curtis Granderson).
Or maybe...it is the moment when Fish Stripes writes a season preview on that player.
Gabriel “Gabby” Guerrero is a 25-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. As a means of satisfying the necessary requirement of any Guerrero-related article, I should add that he is the nephew of the great Vladimir Guerrero, and that Blue Jays phenom Vlad Guerrero Jr. is his cousin. Baseball runs through Guerrero’s veins.
How did he get here? Signed to a minor league deal in December 2018 with Spring Training invite
2018 MiLB Stats: .293/.328/.474, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 123 K, 30 BB in 502 AB
2019 ZiPS Projection: .230/.268/.355, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 143 K, 27 BB in 512 AB
Guerrero hit 19 Home Runs and had 81 RBIs in the minors last year. 802 OPS.— Danny (@all_right_Miami) November 16, 2018
Has an ABSOLUTE arm from the OF (rated one of the best arms of any prospects, by Baseball America).
Someone to keep an eye on, on the down low. https://t.co/Acoz03PhoS
Guerrero’s mechanics and overall game—not to be confused with his talent level—is a spitting image of his uncle. Scouts poke fun at the fact that he resembles his uncle more closely than Vlad Jr. does! However, his cousin’s insane minor league production sets them vastly apart as prospects.
Gabby Guerrero is a power prospect through and through. At the plate, his plus-plus power is in the rare category; in the outfield, he has a cannon for an arm. Unlike his uncle, he lacks a knack for making consistent contact with the ball, and his plate approach is aggressively wild.
Guerrero doesn’t take many walks (single-season high of 34 BB in 2014 and 2017). You can count on him to either hit the ball 400 feet or the ball being tossed back to the mound as he exits stage left following another strikeout. A true all-or-nothing player at the plate.
Thus far in Spring Training, he has put together a .308/.357/.538 slash, with a crunch-time home run, and solid defensive play in the two corner outfield spots. Staying true to his prospect profile, he has also struck out 6 of his 13 at-bats.
Guerrero, in my opinion, is the most interesting non-roster invitee in the camp, if not in all of baseball. His offensive ceiling is tantalizing, and with proper changes to his approach, he could become a regular for the 2019 Marlins.
Nonetheless, he will first have to force his way onto the big league club. Curtis Granderson is virtually locked in to a roster spot, to receive plenty of playing time in the outfield corners. Already on the 40-man, Garrett Cooper and Peter O’Brien are each candidates for work in right field.
Getting a Fish Stripes preview article is a good start!